Workplace Diversity - Google Creative CommonsThis revolution will definitely not be televised.

When Intel announced that it would spend $300 million over the next five years to create a workforce that actually looks like America, the coverage of the announcement was scant.

Here, we have a real game changer, and the faint praise of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s decision to establish a $300 million dollar “Diversity in Tech” initiative – or Jesse Jackson’s efforts at prodding the industry – is almost as bad as the conditions that created the need for the fund in the first place.

Almost.

By stepping up and leading tech companies out of the same old thinking about how to create a diverse workforce, Intel is opening the door for others in the tech world to ensure that the age of innovation looks like all of America.

Last month, Apple included two established minority-owned firms in its $6.5 billion debt offering, which was the largest high-grade corporate bond sale this year – until Microsoft followed with a $10.75 billion debt offering that included four minority-owned firms. This is the kind of action befitting the companies in the vanguard of changing the world we live in.

The business case is clear. People of color and women are among the highest consumers of all things tech. And there are too many of us to be ignored.  [click to continue…]

MLK Thug HoodieThe #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter movements have harnessed – in a non-violent, social media kind of way – the nation’s anger at the slayings of unarmed men of color by law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussion ignores the underlying root of most of these issues – that #MediaImagesMatter, and that the media contributes to the negative portrayal, and therefore the unfair treatment, of people of color.

The sad truth is that the media constantly tells the nation – in both news and entertainment – that many lives really don’t matter.  In a nation that is deeply fractured on the issue of race, all of us – including the media – have the responsibility to change the way we tell our stories and to stop stereotyping and using people of color as target practice to titillate and, in some cases, to fuel fears.

Journalists such as  Roland Martin of NewsOne Now and Richard Lui of MSNBC joined a diverse panel at MMTC’s recent Broadband and Social Justice Summit, titled “#MediaImagesMatter: The Combined Effects of Traditional and New Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes of People of Color.” The panel, which included representatives from the media industry and nonprofit advocacy groups, was in effect a town hall meeting on what we can and must do to change the portrayals of minorities in America.  [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 26, 2015):   Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt rules to ostensibly promote and protect an open Internet.  Responding to calls from the Obama Administration, the general public, and some public interest groups, the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband as a common carrier marks a record-breaking turn in the history of telecommunications.  For almost two decades, Information Service Providers (ISPs) have been subject to the bipartisan Clinton Administration’s “light touch” Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to govern the direction and growth of the Internet.  Today, the Commission returns to key rules imposed by the 1934 Telecommunications Act designed for monopolistic telephone service.

“Today’s decision will have tremendous ramifications on the telecommunications ecosystem,” said MMTC President and CEO Kim M. Keenan.  “While MMTC needs to thoroughly review the 300-plus page Order to evaluate the potential impact, we have clearly gone backward in how we regulate a tool as dynamic as high-speed broadband.  Title II-style regulation could result in less access, less choice, and more opportunities to tax consumers, a totally different picture than we see today.” [click to continue…]

Bad Choices Can Make Today’s Internet Tomorrow’s Memory.  

Capitol with American FlagHere’s what is happening right now to your Internet:  On Thursday, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government’s independent agency that oversees the media and telecommunications industries, is about to deliver a groundbreaking decision that will affect your Internet.

Consumers need to speak up because the FCC’s actions can take away the benefits that we enjoy today and in the future.

Why Should YOU Care?

  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU POWER. You choose from all kinds of plans and combinations, from low-cost pre-paid plans, all the way up to that family plan with the special music collection you like.  Tomorrow’s Internet could have all of these programs eliminated under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU ACCESS. We all move around the Web, accessing movies, photos, emails, and whatever we want on our smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow’s Internet could negatively impact where and how we use the Internet under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET IS GETTING CHEAPER. Over the last few years, the price of broadband has been decreasing.  Tomorrow’s Internet costs may increase and make it harder for some of us to pay. New, unnecessary taxes and fees on services could also open up from Thursday’s FCC rules, hitting you and your family in the wallet.

Today’s Internet is OPEN, and after Thursday, consumers won’t get anything that they didn’t have – except more rules, less choice, and the possibility of higher costs. [click to continue…]

CongressThis week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to end one of the most contested telecommunications debates in recent history – the future of the Internet.  Or at least, that is what the FCC thinks.  Already challenged by two Commissioners and members of Congress, the open Internet vote is under scrutiny amidst calls for the agency’s release of the Order for public consumption and comment.  Ironically, what started out as a quest toward greater online transparency has lost its focus and left behind those who are most at risk of being impacted by the final policy decisions – underserved consumers.

In the last two weeks, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the agency will lay down strong and enforceable rules of the road for Internet regulation that even surpass the White House’s vocal aspirations.  Meanwhile, members of Congress have been circulating a draft legislative proposal to avoid the potential legal, technical, and social collision of overzealous regulation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs); regulations that, in our understanding of the present form of the draft proposal, contain few consumer protections.  [click to continue…]

Black and Hispanic Entrepreneur Digital Divide Scientist STEM Education2

The Internet is just a few decades old, but today it is vital to the success of virtually every American.

Yet millions of Americans – particularly people of color – are missing out on the many opportunities afforded by broadband (high speed) Internet access.

Our struggle began as one for civil and human rights, but even with great progress, when it comes to digital literacy, an egregious number of African-Americans and Hispanics remain locked out of net equality, trapped on the wrong side of a widening gap that we call the “digital divide.”

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and our partners, including National Urban League, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, and many others, are committed to addressing – and finding solutions for – this social justice issue, starting with our seniors. [click to continue…]

Diverse EntrepreneursLast week, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), along with the DE Opportunity Coalition, a group comprised of 16 national organizations and individuals, filed joint comments to support increased competition in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum auction process. The timing for this filing was impeccable as the Commission prepares to launch the next historic sale of U.S. spectrum assets – the spectrum incentive auction slated for 2016.

In our comments, the Coalition urged the FCC to build upon its recent commitment to reviving the Designated Entity (DE) program to promote meaningful participation from small businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses, and rural telcos (collectively known as “DEs”), as mandated by Congress. [click to continue…]

The following ex parte letter was filed with the Federal Communications Commission in GN Docket No. 14-28, Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, on February 18, 2015.

Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners:

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (“MMTC”) shares in the Commission’s goals to protect and promote an open Internet.  MMTC submits this ex parte to:  (1) reinforce our position that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, supplemented by a consumer-friendly, probable cause enforcement mechanism like Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is the most viable regulatory approach to enforce open Internet provisions while protecting consumers;[1] and (2) raise questions regarding the proposed use of Title II and the potential unintended consequences on broadband adoption for people of color, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, rural residents, and seniors.  As stated in previous filings, MMTC believes that we can achieve the goal of smart net neutrality rules while fostering broadband adoption and informed use without the use of Title II regulation.[2]  [click to continue…]

At the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’s (MMTC’s) 2015 Broadband and Social Justice Summit, MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan delivered the 2015 State of Broadband and Social Justice Keynote, highlighting MMTC’s work to promote first class digital citizenship and close the digital divide, the role of exorbitant prison payphone rates as a “tax on pain,” addressing the lack of employment diversity in Silicon Valley, and working for an open and accessible Internet for all. A video of Keenan’s full keynote, delivered during the Summit’s Congressional and Legislative Luncheon, is available here.

Keenan’s remarks, as delivered:

Kim Keenan BBSJ Summit Keynote

Although his official birthday was last Friday and my birthday was on the official holiday, this Summit is really the byproduct of the vision of a man named Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. And so, as we sit here today, as much as at any other time in history, his words resonate in our minds and our hearts. As we chart the course of MMTC to ensure a future where everyone is connected, we are ever mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King.

I thought I’d share with you, as I kick off my remarks, one of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King quotes: “Cowardice asks, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’” And there comes a time we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but we must take it because it is right.  [click to continue…]

Workplace Diversity - Google Creative CommonsEquality is essential.  Equity in the realm of employment, entrepreneurship, and opportunity is imperative.  Yet, institutional employment inequities plague Silicon Valley, where the majority of the workforce and leadership are white and male in spite of the increasing population of qualified minorities and women across the nation.

What can we do to abate the disparities plaguing multicultural communities in the tech space?

This was the center of the recent “Closing the Tech Divide: Getting to Equal in Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Opportunity” panel  at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’s (MMTC) recent Broadband and Social Justice Summit.  Accomplished entrepreneurs and experts discussed institutional solutions to diversity in the tech workforce, while challenging the audience by presenting ways in which we could all help to close the tech divide. Ronald Johnson, chairman and CEO of Solutions4Change and treasurer of the MMTC Board of Directors, moderated the discussion.  [click to continue…]